Blogs

Take an inside look into emerging markets and trends. Gain valuable new perspectives from HBN experts and our partners. Be inspired to know better.

Maximize Your Impact: Transformation Targets Will Help Prioritize Product Choices

Tom Lent | September 2018 | Newsletter

Confused by conflicting red lists? Unsure where to focus your limited project time while trying to choose healthier building materials or products? Help is on the way. This fall, HBN will be rolling out “Transformation Targets” to help you prioritize your efforts and make the greatest impact on your project and in the industry.


Just Released: These Healthier Insulations and Sealants Also Improve Energy Efficiency

Rebecca Stamm | September 2018 | Newsletter

Addressing concerns that some insulation products contain and emit unhealthy chemicals, HBN is proud to release “Making Affordable Multifamily Housing More Energy Efficient: A Guide to Healthier Upgrade Materials.” Developed as part of our collaborative effort with the Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA) initiative and other partners working to improve energy efficiency in affordable, multifamily housing, the new report contains recommendations that provide actionable value across building sectors.

The report features HBN’s materials research and provides important recommendations anyone can use to improve energy efficiency while reducing toxic chemical exposures to workers, residents, and the environment. Our research highlights chemicals of concern commonly found in insulation and sealants, suggests healthier material options for weatherization programs, and provides information and inspiration for anyone interested in healthier product options.


Healthy Building Network will Present at the Living Product Expo

Gina Ciganik | September 2018 | Newsletter

If you’ll be at the 2018 Living Product Expo, please join us for two thought-provoking sessions:

Healthy & Affordable Building Materials: Strategic Transformation Opportunities
In this workshop, you’ll learn how to leverage transparency data to enable product research, evaluation, and collaboration opportunities that scale affordable product innovation.

Thursday, September 13 at 3 pm
(Track: Social Equity + Supply Chain)

Can PVC be a "Green" Product?: The Evolving Story of Polyvinyl Chloride
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is one of the most common materials in the building products industry, and also one of the most hotly debated topics in green building. While the industry has made progress in addressing health issues with the manufacturer and use of vinyl, concerns remain around the supply chain and end of life for the material. Join this session with four leading experts across the industry including a toxicologist, manufacturer, material researcher, and specifier to understand and uncover the lingering issues with the material and engage in an open, honest conversation about the best way to move the industry forward towards more sustainable PVC.

Wednesday, September 12 at 10:45 am
(Track: Biomimicry + Biophilic Design)

About the Expo

This year, the Living Product Expo is focusing on achieving healthy products and spaces. You’ll gain access to some of the most innovative products available today and meet the industry leaders who are bringing them to market. LP18 keynotes will include leaders from Mohawk Group, Phylagen, Humanscale, American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), LightArt, and more.


Regional Insights Provide a Baseline to Advance Specification Guidance

Billy Weber | September 2018 | Newsletter

Are you curious about regional trends in building products? Do you want to know what your peers are using on their projects? Healthy Building Network has collected project specifications to assess baseline information to help you understand typical products installed in affordable housing and identify opportunities for improvement. The results of the Washington, DC baseline specification study are now live on the HomeFree site, where you’ll find similar studies for California, Louisiana, Minnesota, and the Pacific Northwest. Next up is New York.


Landmark report provides little known details of plastics production: asbestos, mercury, global warming, and ocean pollution

James Vallette | August 2018 | Newsletter

On July 26th Healthy Building Network released Phase 1 of a landmark report on chlorine based plastics that are widely used in common building and construction products. Demand from the building industry now drives the production of chlorine, the key ingredient of PVC widely used in pipes, siding, roofing membranes, wall covering, flooring, and carpeting. It is also an essential feedstock for epoxies used in adhesives and flooring topcoats, and for polyurethane used in insulation and flooring.


Beware the Hidden Ozone Depleter: Upstream Impacts of Blowing Agents

Rebecca Stamm | August 2018 | Newsletter

As noted in HBN’s new Chlorine and Building Materials report, chlorine production is a major source of releases of carbon tetrachloride, a potent global warming and ozone depleting gas as well as a carcinogen. As this report reminds us, it’s important to consider not only the use-phase impacts of building products, but the entire life cycle, including primary chemical production that’s several steps back from final product manufacture. In our 2017 comments to the EPA, HBN uncovered another link to ozone depleting carbon tetrachloride in building products – one you might not expect – use in the production of low global warming potential blowing agents.


Chemicals and their Functions Now Connected in the Data Commons

Michel Dedeo | August 2018 | Newsletter

Looking for a non-toxic surfactant for a new product formulation? Now you can search the Chemical Hazard Data Commons by chemical function and easily compare the toxicity profiles of your hits. Every chemical in commerce serves one or more functions, whether it’s a solvent, pesticide, chelating agent, fragrance, or preservative. We’re excited to announce the Data Commons now includes 11 sources of functional uses, and about 160,000 links associating specific chemicals with a functional use, product category, or product.


HomeFree helped make the Liberty Bank Building a healthier place to live – What could it do for your project?

Billy Weber | August 2018 | Newsletter

As part of our HomeFree program, Healthy Building Network partnered with Capitol Hill Housing (CHH) on a pacific northwest demonstration project at their Liberty Bank Building. The partnership provided information and research for CHH to explore and select healthier, alternative materials, and led to a renewed, organization-wide commitment to health and their creation of a Healthy Homes Initiative.


Healthy Building Network will Present at the Living Product Expo – Register now and save 10%!

Gina Ciganik | August 2018 | Newsletter

Join us at the International Living Future Institute for the fourth Living Product Expo; September 11th-13th in Pittsburgh, PA. On Thursday the 13th, at 3 pm, Bill Walsh and Jim Vallette, along with Simona Fischer of MSR Architects, will present their session titled, Healthy & Affordable Building Materials: Strategic Transformation Opportunities, We hope to see you there.


For those with chemical sensitivities, a healthy home is critical. This new book offers first-hand insights and advice.

Gina Ciganik | August 2018 | Newsletter

More and more people are interested in incorporating healthier products into their homes as a way to decrease their exposures to toxic chemicals. In his book Home for Health, Hilton Tudhope chronicles his journey to build a healthy home – a “sanctuary for healing” and respite for his wife who battles debilitating chemical sensitivities. He used Healthy Building Network’s Pharos database as a resource. We’d like to thank Mr. Tudhope for sharing this practical, hands-on information and his inspiring story, and encourage you to check out the book!